A friend emailed the other day saying that she’d had a dream about her father and my father…..that they were playing golf together in heaven. She said that she prayed for dreams about her loved ones that had passed and it really hit home because every night that I go to bed I pray that I’ll dream about my dad too.
It’s funny how things happen after a loved one dies ……and you wonder if they are part of some master plan. Now, I’m pretty darn sure there is a master plan:
1. So yes, the biggest one is that Boo says she saw Grandpa on the porch of the mountain house and that he wanted to speak to Grandma.
2. The well known golf photographer Brian Morgan was in Seoul, Korea the week my father died. He took the last photos of my father before he died and documented the last week of my father’s life.
A few weeks after my dad’s funeral I was talking with Kevin, our family friend that was with my father when he died and Kevin mentioned that Brian would like to meet and share some photos. Of course I called Brian right away and asked where he was located:
Me: So where are you located?
Brian: Palm Desert, CA
Me: I’M in Palm Desert! Where in Palm Desert?!
Brian: I’m just up Hwy 74 just off (streetname).
Me: (stunned silence) I live just off (streetname).
It turns out the man that photographed the last days of my father’s life lives less than a quarter mile from my house. It’s an easy walk. Brian and his fiance visited one night and we talked for hours about my dad, their mutual love of golf and story after story after story. It’s a gift that they live so close.
3. The movie 7 days in Utopia…..I’ll have to wait until it comes out on DVD because I couldn’t even make it through the trailer without sobbing. My sister saw the movie and was so freaked out at first that her text subject to me was “h*ly sh*t” which is totally out of character for her. The main character, Johnny Crawford, could be my dad. Played by Robert Duvall, in the first trailer clip he laughs and I had to catch my breath…..it was my dad’s laugh. Scene after scene I would lose it.
Robert Duvall in the movie eerily looks like a slightly older version of my father:
The scene at the river is my dad to a T…..I can hear him saying “you have to control your emotions……it never fails” in the exact same tone. I have to do a double take of the scene to realize it’s Robert Duvall and not my dad.
The long putter: My dad was the world’s biggest champion of the long putter….we buried him with it.
And then there’s the flying scenes: My dad made all of us learn to fly….just in case anything ever happened to him at the controls. One day he just stopped flying and sold his plane. My mother confided in me years later that he’d been in a plane crash. Want to know how stoic and protective my dad was of us? Well one night we were all eating dinner at my grandparents and my dad walked in a little late. We ate as normal and had family time and then that night as he and my mother fell asleep he said “something happened that will probably be in the papers tomorrow.” He had crashed the plane he was flying. We never knew a thing….he never wanted us to worry. My mom told us all this story just a few weeks ago.
There are other crazy similarities in the movie that I’ll leave to my sister Perry to write about one day. I know my dad would have loved this movie. It would be one of those that he would mention every time he called “have you seen 7 Days in Utopia yet? Make sure you go see it this week.” Don’t worry Dad, I’ll see it….just on DVD so I don’t traumatize the entire theater with my crying.
4. The course my dad played in Korea the week before he died is called 9 Bridges. Brian Morgan was there to photograph it for a few weeks before the tournament and believe me….if there is a place on earth that resembles a Utopia it is 9 bridges. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on earth:
photo courtesy of Brian Morgan
My sister pointed out that, ironically, there are only 8 bridges on the course, and the 9th bridge is supposed to be a metaphorical bridge to heaven. Perry says “it looks like dad found the 9th bridge on the way home.”
Yesterday, my husband’s grandfather found the 9th bridge as well. He passed away and joins his wife, my husband’s grandmother, in heaven. As always, our family chooses joy. Rest in peace Papa.
Sometimes I get on a tangent researching things…..tonight it happened to be John Wayne. My dad loved old movies and I think I’ve watched every John Wayne movie that’s been played recently on AMC and TCM. I found this great quote:
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
Isn’t that awesome? Every day starts out new and perfect, regardless of what happened the day before.
My dad would have loved this one even more:
Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.
If you are new to my blog and would like to read the back stories to this post click below:
Wow! So many ways to show us that God has his hand in everything.
Love the John Wayne quote! Will definitely be sharing it with others.
Jenni Carlisle says
Love this sweet tribute to your Daddy, sounds like a wonderful, honorable man. can’t wait to see the movie, I will think of you when I do and send some prayers for more dreams.
I always wish for those who have left to visit me in my dreams.
And now, I think I just might think of YOUR father every time I see a Robert Duvall movie.
You are an excellent writer.
This post made me cry. You tell your story with so much love. And it made me miss having a father in my adult life.
Ashley, as I watched my dad hobble across the room tonight looking so frail, I thought about what it will be like when we lose him. My heart aches just thinking about it. I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling. You are in my thoughts and prayers…and you are so right, there is always a master plan….I will probably need your shoulder to cry on sometime in the years to come 🙂 xoxo
Grace Bower says
What a beautiful and moving post Ashley. Was wondering how you and your family are getting on especially your mum. Saw a film called The Heart of Texas – http://www.heartoftexasthe movie.com. A real life loss situation and the miracle that followed.Love the story of 9 Bridges ( my maiden name was Pethybridge – an English name meaning the bridge to pleasant pastures. I always think of Psalm 23). Praying healing and blessings for you all.
Karen C. says
How uncanny! So many ties to that movie. What are the chances of the actor looking like your dad? Then the connection to golf and planes. I think as much as it’s hard to be sad, all the tears show how much you loved and love that person. It sounds as if your dad is with you. Prayers and many blessings ahead.
Rebecca C says
Sharing all of what you just shared is incredibly touching. My parents live so far away from me, and although I already cherish their presence in my life, it makes me want to call them twice a day just to say hello. My dad’s a john wayne guy too. Thanks for this post 🙂
I should have read this last night! Words have escaped me and im having a hard time seeing my phone keayboard through tears… How life can be so happy AND so heartbreaking at the sametime is… CRAZY!
Sorry that you guys are experiencing another loss…
Crafty Mom says
Ashley – once again you’ve brought me to tears. I’m so, so, sorry for yet another loss for your family. I definitely believe in a “Master Plan” and it’s comforting and saddening at the same time, when loved ones who’ve moved on come back to visit in their own way. My husband’s been saying he wanted to see 7 Days in Utopia, but I never saw the trailer until now and I didn’t really care to see “a golf movie”. This movie’s about much more than just golf, and now I really want to see it! Also, how incredible, that Brian Morgan lives so close. That is down right eerie. So glad you were able to have a good visit and hear re-counts of your dad’s last days. Huge hugs to you and your family.
Leigh Anne says
What a sweet and beautiful post! Many (((hugs))) to you. I so appreciate your eternal perspective 🙂 Makes me reflect on my days….I choose JOY!
Tleshia Farrar says
Ashley, thanks for once again, letting us all into the intimate places in your life. I too choose joy and will be praying for your family.
Betsy West says
Hi Ashley – Marty and I finally saw 7 Days in Utopia today and it is an amazing movie – and we can definitely see how you can see your dad in it. I’m so glad I read this post (and so did Marty) before we saw it. Marty has been giving the book to a lot of our friends and is now encouraging them to see the movie. There are a lot of wonderful life lessons in it – lessons your dad already practiced! He was an amazing man and we all still miss him so we can’t imagine how much you do. Marty will be at Pine Valley next weekend and I know there will be lots of Norman stories told. Love to you all! Betsy
Amy-Thrifty Treasure Hunter says
I lost my mom 3 years ago this coming Christmas Eve and there is a lady in our church that if I’m not paying attention and catch a glimpse of her…she reminds me of my mother so much it takes the breath out of me…luckily she is my dear firends mom& their whole family have adopted us… My stepdad has been dating a new lady for a while and just recently I spent a little more time with her and I see identical things/mannerisms of my mother in her too so I get it & really am happy that he has someone new in his life.
We try to see all new Christian movies so more will get made but both my boys want to play golf so we plan on seeing this one anyway. I will think of you & your Sweet Papa BLU.
I think of you guys everytime I see donut stuff too…wish we lived closer in miles, I’m sure we’d be great friends.
Linda L says
First, let me say my condolences on the loss of your husband’s grandfather. I still miss my grandparents who have all been in heaven for a while now. Second, I don’t believe in coincidence. I think all the events and people connected to your Father’s passing were put there by God for a reason. I look forward to seeing the movie. Thank you for another great post. I know that you help a lot of people with your willingness to share your vulnerability. It is refreshing to see that people still believe in God and a master plan and are not afraid to speak about it. Will keep your family in my prayers.
I will definitely see the movie and think of your father. He must have been an amazing man. Thank you for sharing, reminds me how great my own father was- he too golfed and flew his own Cessna. And the story about 9 bridges sent chills up my back.
Agh that 9th bridge part almost made me cry. Your love for your dad feels like how I feel about my dad, who has recently been diagnosed with a nasty cancer. That is amazing about that movie. It is neat that it can bring some of your dad back to you for a while when you watch it. (I can imagine the tears.)
As always…loved hearing the stories of your dad. I am so sorry for you families loss. My mom and dad both are at the 9th Bridge….thank you for this imagine. I have been lonely for my mom, she died 2 years ago this month . They were the light of my life but I know they would want me to choose Joy as well. Love the quote, my dad was a big John Wayne fan too! May your tomorrows be bright!
Thanks for sharing with us. It was a beautiful read this morning. And I love golf so that movie is on my list, just moved to the top.
PS, I’m stealing the John Wayne quote since my husband is slightly obsessed with old movies and JW. I’ll make him something special for his office with it.
You’re the best.
Michelle Brown says
I cried buckets when I read your initial posts about your dad and his passing. I lost my dad to a quick spreading cancer in ’08. He knew nothing of golf. But at his memorial he was likened to John Wayne. I don’t know if he would appreciate that – he never cared much for those who sought the spotlight. But your quote fits him to a tee – literally! Thank you so much for sharing your journey – more tears tonight…. And I know I am not alone.
My Grandpa was a golf fanatic he loved the sport so much, he played it as much as he could. Which led us his grandchildren, believe that he played golf for a living, and he never let us think otherwise. I think he liked the fact that we thought he was a golf pro. We loved it when he took us on the golf course and gave us the ins and out of the sport. Whenever you mention your father’s relationship to Sienna I can picture him doing the same thing that my grandpa did with us. A day on the course followed by lunch and something from the Pro Shop (for us it was usually pink golf balls). My grandpa died in November 2007 at the age of 91, on a flight from Florida to Idaho. When the plane landed he told my Nana that he felt funny and needed to sit down, he had just stepped off the plane, a wheelchair was pulled up for him but sadly he passed shortly after sitting in the chair. The passing of your father touches my heart and I hope you know that he is watching you and I am sure he is very proud of you and the strength that you show your daughter. My Grandpa only got to meet my oldest who turned 1 the year he died. I’m glad they got to meet, but sad at the same time that my kids will never know their Great Grandpa and the wonderful man that he was. I think about him every day and when I have a dream about him I know it’s him telling me not to forget him. Who knows maybe my Grandpa and your Dad have up there in heaven and are playing a round of Golf right now. I’m sure if he were alive he would have loved to do that.
Also I am very sorry for Families loss, I’ll be thinking of you.
Loved the movie but when I went to the website
The clip did he make the hole was gone.
Doesn’t really matter- I know he did. Thanks for Sharing this made my afternoon!